Officials warn against GOP door-to-door voter intimidation efforts
Illustration from Harpers Weekly of historic voter suppression, Oct 21, 1876, pg. 848

A GOP-affiliated group founded in the wake of baseless election fraud accusations following the 2020 presidential election is reportedly going door-to-door in Harris County, and asking residents to sign affidavits that verify the identities of voters living in their homes. 

Reportedly, the probe was instigated when one resident of the Sunnyside neighborhood filed a complaint saying two men came to her door, showed her an “official-looking” affidavit and demanded her signature “under penalty of perjury.” 

“Voters in Sunnyside, and throughout the region, have rights and they don’t have to tolerate lies and subversion at their doorsteps,” Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said. “No voter has any obligation to engage with representatives of this group, give them any information or sign any document.”

Ellis says his office was notified on June 29 by a Sunnyside constituent that door-to-door canvassers were engaging in what appeared to be voter suppression efforts. They presented an affidavit requesting information about individuals registered to vote at the address that required sworn signatures under penalty of perjury.

The county’s elections office released a news release warning residents to be aware of “scammers” who may be attempting to solicit and collect personal information. 

Residents say doorbell camera footage captured two men at a home in Sunnyside wearing badges that identified them as members of Texas Election Network, a conservative organization formed last year. The organization was founded by Melissa Conway, the Republican National Committee’s Texas state director for election integrity. 

“The people canvassing residents are grass-roots volunteers for the nonprofit organization called Texas Election Network, and they are wearing badges that clearly state the name of the organization with the nonprofit registration number on the back,” Alan Vera, a board member of the Texas Election Network and chair of the county GOP’s ballot security committee, said in a statement. “These volunteers are not employees of any political party. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower citizens to ensure and protect fair and transparent elections.”

Harris County is warning residents that they are not required to sign the forms being used by the solicitors.

“In the event that the Harris County Elections Office ever needs to contact you directly,” its release read, “our staff will have county ID badges to prove their identity, and/or paperwork with the logo or official seal of the office included.” 

James Slattery, senior staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, decried the practice. “I’m sure they’ll say they’re just a bland nonprofit, but to a voter who does not have a law degree, who does not have a background in law enforcement, you are a lot more likely to believe that this is some kind of quasi-official visit.” 

“This,” Slattery continued, “is one of the precise situations I have been most worried about this election — people in shadowy volunteer groups who suggest in one way or another that they are acting under official authority questioning the eligibility of voters directly by knocking on their doors.”

If voters have questions, contact the Harris County Elections Department at 713-755-6965.

“Our country is at a critical juncture where our democracy and fundamental rights are under attack like never before,” Commissioner Ellis said. “The testimony coming out of the January 6 Select House Committee makes that clear. Big Lie specialists and subversive groups on the ground are picking up where the insurrectionists left off—undermining faith in our democracy and pitting one American against another.”